Philosophy as a basis for policy and practice: What confidence can we have in philosophical analysis and argument?

Journal of Philosophy of Education 42 (s1):165-182 (2008)
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Abstract

The purpose of this article is to suggest how philosophy might play a key, if precisely delineated, role in the shaping of policy that leads educational development. The argument begins with a reflection on the nature of confidence in the relationship between philosophy and policy. We note the widespread resistance to abstract theorising in the policy community, disguising the enormous potential of a philosophical approach. Defending a philosophically equipped approach to policy, which is inevitably theoretically laden, we argue that philosophical investigation should be construed not as an initial step anterior to the task of research, but as a way of standing in relation to evidence and policy making throughout the process of investigation and adjudication. To illustrate the distinctive contribution philosophy can make, we propose five interrelated stages where philosophical thinking plays a constitutive role in the full process of policy development, critique and instantiation.

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